Social media tips for real estate agents

Social media tips for real estate agents from CoreLogic

posted in: Marketing Tips | 0

By guest blogger, Director of Digital Solutions CoreLogic Lee Wade

From good to great. Committing to taking the social media content strategy leap

As we run headlong into 2017, ask yourself, will your social media content be any different this year? There is no shortage of people preaching at you that you need to find the time to engage your audience on social media. They tell you that if you don’t do it then you are clearly missing out on limitless opportunities to engage your audience and ultimately grow your leads and revenue. What most of the pundits won’t tell you is that to be truly great and successful on social media requires both the will to consistently participate and also a commitment to wanting to provide better, more engaging content than everyone else. In other words; at some point, you’re going to need a strategy.

Warning, Warning Will Robinson!!! 

Let me start off by saying that if you don’t do social media AND you’re also a very successful agent then that’s really fantastic (I genuinely mean that). I urge you to please keep doing what you’re doing as it’s working for you. You are a real estate rock star!

Also, you can also probably stop reading this article right about now. 🙂

You’re back from annual leave.  You’re eager and refreshed. If in 2016 your local real estate success was moderate to good and you’re wanting 2017 to be the year when you make that leap from good to great, then now is exactly the right time to be planning your 2017 social media content strategy.

Community Engagement – start off small

Engaging your local community sounds like a pretty daunting task. But it doesn’t need to be. As you dip your toe into 2017 remind yourself that you’re already a successful agent who’s making a positive difference in the local community.  That probably means you’re busy doing your day job while benefiting your local community in some way, shape or form. You likely also struggle to devote the time you need to building the social media following that your efforts deserve.

A way for a time-poor agent such as yourself to balance both is to start off building your presence through re-posting.  You’re busy making a quid and doing what you need to do.  Re-posting is an easy, legitimate and credible way to starting to build your social media audience

Re-posting helps you to connect with your community

As it turns out, agents are extremely well positioned to act as aggregation points for much of what goes on in the local community.  A big part of the agents’ day is speaking with community members and forging new relationships. Next to the local politicians, agents are probably the best positioned to act as the aggregation points for what goes on in the local area.

From a social media perspective, the great news is this means you don’t have to invent all your posted content yourself.  This is why re-posting can be your friend.

One of the early adopter mistakes that some agents made on social media was making their posts all about themselves and their latest real estate listings.  I think the lesson has been learned that “all about you” or “all about your latest listing” doesn’t translate into an engaged and loyal audience.

As a rule of thumb, your content should be 70% about your local community and 30% about you. This way, you’re making your social media presence more about the issues affecting your community and less about yourself.  These community issues are being aggregated and delivered through your social media feeds. You’re the one who’s curated the content and re-posted what makes sense as well as placed it in context.

Remember also that there’s also nothing wrong with you expressing your own opinion too. It’s all in how you phrase it though. It doesn’t need to be a poorly worded re-post like:

“Here’s an interesting post from Sally Smith… {Repost Sally here}”.

Instead content can be curated by you where you let your own opinions be heard as well as you start showing some of your own personality and belief in the issue:

“Sally Smith’s post on local kindergarten placements is exactly how we all feel at times. It’s hard enough without… {Repost Sally here}”

Beware the haters

Blue haired troll toyA word of warning: there will be haters along the way.  This is the unfortunate and ugly reality of social media. When highlighting community issues please remain cognisant there are always two sides to every issue. No matter how benign the issue, someone out there has an opposing view to you. So trolling may occur at some point.

My only advice is to please don’t ever engage a troll. As hard as it may be, you have to accept that not everyone shares your opinions and at times this may turn into personal attacks on you through retaliatory social media posts and comments on your posts.  It can get ugly.  I fully appreciate that it’s easier to say this than do it in practice, but you need to find your way to rise above it and ignore them.

How you react to a troll is perhaps the thing that people will remember about you. Be careful not to turn others in your social media community against you by making inappropriate comments to trolls.

You don’t want to be remembered as “Oh!  You’re that agent who lost it on social media over that road closure issue”

The details will not be not be remembered at all, just your reaction.  Be gracious and, if you can, ignore, ignore, ignore, ignore till the troll loses interest in you.  If you do feel the compulsion to respond, then being polite and gracious (taking the high road) is highly recommended.

Don’t forget – it’s a social thing

Remember that social media is exactly that… it’s meant to be “social”.  If and when you can, remind yourself to go with the flow. Conversations occurring in the comments of your posts is a good thing as they show that your audience is engaged with you and your topics.  I’m not a self-help expert. I have no sage advice to offer you other than my opinion that debate is healthy, hate is not. Encourage your followers to always be social and actively discuss.  Jump in and moderate and curate if and when it starts to devolve into name calling and sledging.

Identify and follow your community influencers

The simplest way to work out who your community influencers are is to pick up your local community newspaper.

Once a week a local community newspaper probably gets delivered to your letterbox or thrown over your fence.  This year is the year you need to read it. It is full of topics for community-based social media posts.

Find the local progress association; the local bowls club; the local footy clubs, the Scouts and Girl Guides; find all your local, state and federal politicians, the local activist groups and all your local school P&Cs. Find each and every one of them on social media and start following them.

  • Use them as your content resource
  • Track and talk about what’s happening locally in your posts
  • Curate relevant content from others
  • Please do not just blindly re-post their words
  • It’s okay to express your own opinion too
  • Expect that not everyone will agree with you

Here’s my rough guide to what the social media content might look like for a real estate agent who’s wanting to engage with their local community in 2017.  When you look closely at the breakdown you’ll notice that more than half of the content is still real estate centric, but the skew is towards community rather than direct agent self-promotion.  The difference is subtle, but very important:

  • Community and current events – 35%
  • Real estate advice – 20%
  • Links to other community and real estate resources, such as the REIQ website and social media channels – 15%
  • Property data and market statistics for your area – 10%
  • Videos – 10%
  • Real estate listings – 10% (Limit to your big important listings)

Be Interesting and plan at least 2 things to say.

Have a mud map plan of what you’re going to say throughout the year.  If you intend making social media one of your client acquisition strategies, then it’s probably a good idea to plan out in advance week-by-week and have a rough mud map of the stuff you’re going to say when.

My rule of thumb is.  There are 52 weeks in a year, so have a rough idea of the 52 topics you’re going to talk about? Or at the very least – plan your first 30 topics.  In fact I’ll go as far as to request that you please don’t start trying to build your social media following till you at least have your first 30 topics in mind.  You don’t want to be a one hit wonder.  If you want to be in it for the long haul then work smarter, not harder. Please take a week to think it through and create a list of things that matter to you and to your community that you might like to talk about.

There would be nothing worse than starting off like a horse bolting out of the gate only to run out of things to say when you’re just 10 stories into your journey. So planning really is key here. Because I want to help you get started, below are 25 topics for your consideration.  You could likely come up with at 52 social media post ideas just from these topics alone.

  1. Local community events
  2. What’s on: Local concerts, art, gallery, museum showings
  3. Back to school tips
  4. Local kindergarten, primary and secondary school events / concerts / fetes
  5. Local sporting club wins and losses
  6. Religious observances relevant to your community (multiple denominations and beliefs)
  7. Support for the local homeless
  8. New roads / upgrades needed
  9. Local Traffic / Traffic Plans (Council / State Gov’t)
  10. Shopping centre events / promotions
  11. Local soup kitchen support / general support for local homeless
  12. Controversial planning announcements / decisions by council or parliament
  13. Hyper local issues (new traffic lights needed, dangerous intersection, new crossing)
  14. Public holiday long weekends
  15. Road safety tips
  16. Indigenous support in the local community
  17. Storms / flood season precautions
  18. Seasonal Property Market Statistics (Examples: Spring Selling Season, Rent prices, Yields, Median Values)
  19. Real Estate guides (for first home buyers; for renovators; for upgraders; for investors)
  20. Weekend auction results
  21. State government planning revisions / decisions
  22. Local emergency services issues (Ambulance, Police, Fire, SES, Hospital)
  23. Local theatre company productions
  24. Local courses on offer (Vocational, TAFE, College)
  25. A career in real estate (a day in the life of you)

 

Property Data that informs your local community makes great social media content.

When Australian buyers purchase property they mostly stand alone in the market. There are few buyer’s agents around. So we actually end up representing ourselves in the real estate transaction.  It is the “buyer’s self-representation” in the transaction that sits at the very heart of our national obsession for real estate prices. It’s in all our interests to keep a watching eye on the local real estate prices so we know when it’s best to sell and/or buy.

The danger comes in the form of information overload.  There is so much rich real estate content available that, for most buyers, it becomes white noise.

Local market property statistics can be an incredibly fruitful resource for your social media content strategy.  The key to success comes when you add your professional interpretation into the mix.  You need to act as the filter with a well measured and easily understood opinion in among the real estate white noise. Overlaying your local market knowledge and explaining what the statistics actually mean for your social media audience is your opportunity to demonstrate your professional expertise and local market knowledge.

  • You’re the local property market expert who can look at a table of summarised listings and highlight the demand sweet spot
  • You’re the one who can set buyer expectations by using a recent sales history table to demonstrate recent prices achieved for three and four bedroom homes
  • You’re the one who can look at a list of “days advertised” rental data and explain that the 11% vacancy rate means local landlords should on average expect 40 days’ fewer rental income for the year

The key to providing the insights, context and meaning is you!  Interpreting local property market statistics for your social media followers is genuinely riveting content that cements your place as the local, trusted property market expert. It is a demonstrable differentiator that sets you apart from the other agents competing for listings and sales in your local area.

 

Be an agent known for your area of expertise… and spruik about it on social media.

Whatever it is that you gravitate to in your day to day is likely something you’re both good at and proud of.  So why not make that your expertise on social media?

I think it’s worth reminding yourself that in the eyes of your social media followers you can be either a real estate generalist or you can be known for a specific expertise in your local market.

  • You might choose to be known as the local expert in Surfers Paradise unit sales over $2m.
  • You might choose to be known as the local expert in sub division land sales
  • You might choose to be known as the local expert in finding investor properties ripe for renovation.

Whatever it is that you’re good at, may I humbly suggest you label yourself with your expertise and add it as your social media by-line.  It won’t define you nor limit you. But it might benefit you to be known as a specialist agent. You can say, spruik, sell whatever types of properties you like.  But I bet there’s also a unique competency there that you really enjoy that you always gravitate to?

What I am really suggesting here is that as you formulate your social media content strategy for 2017 remind yourself to be you!  Be authentic!

  • Identify and follow your community leaders
  • Start off simple by re-posting the posts of other community leaders with your own commentary and opinion added
  • Have a mud map of the next 30 plus topics that you want to post
  • Beware the trolls and haters who will try and de-rail you along the way
  • Don’t be boring and post your latest listings. Please maintain a healthy and varied mix of real estate and community content
  • Talk about the things that make sense to you and your community. Your community will respond in kind and engage with you but it may take some time to earn their trust.
  • Own your local real estate message and be the expert in your area for {insert your competency here}

Above all, do what you enjoy and may I wish you the best of luck building your audience of loyal social media followers in 2017.

Man in suit without tie
CoreLogic Digital Solutions Director Lee Wade